Why isn’t Vikings’ Kirk Cousins playing on ‘Sunday Night Football’ vs. Packers?

The Vikings will be without Kirk Cousins when they play the Packers on “Sunday Night Football.”

Cousins tested positive for COVID-19 and landed on the Vikings’ COVID list on Friday morning, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. He won’t be available to participate in the “Sunday Night Football” matchup in Green Bay as a result.

Cousins tested positive on Dec. 31, and the league protocol mandates an isolation period of at least five days, in accordance with the updated CDC guidelines. Backup quarterback Sean Mannion was activated off the COVID-19 list and will take over for Cousins in an attempt to keep the Vikings’ playoff hopes alive. 

CAMENKER: What Kirk Cousins’ absence means for Vikings’ playoff chances

Why isn’t Cousins playing on Sunday? Here’s what you need to know about why he’s missing the game, and when he might be returning to the Vikings’ backfield.

Why isn’t Kirk Cousins playing tonight?

Cousins tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday morning. All players who test positive must isolate for at least a five-day period before they are eligible to play, according to the NFL’s updated COVID-19 protocols. 

The protocols for returning to play outline that all players must clear at least 24 hours since their last fever without the aid of fever-reducing medication, other symptoms must be ‘resolved or improved’ and individuals must be cleared by a team doctor in consultation with ICS and the NFL. 

Once clearing protocols, all players are mandated to wear a mask for five days after returning except when participating in practice or a game.

VIKINGS QB DEPTH CHART: Get to know Vikings starter Sean Mannion

When will Kirk Cousins return?

Since Cousins is unvaccinated, he is unable to test out of protocols and return to play earlier than the mandated five-day period. According to Tom Pelissero, Cousins experienced symptoms before testing positive. 

If he becomes asymptomatic and is cleared by a team doctor, Cousins could return to the Vikings as early as Wednesday, ahead of the Vikings’ final regular-season matchup against the Bears.

Which other Vikings are on the COVID list?

Mannion and Rashod Hill were both activated from the Vikings’ COVID list on Friday. With the addition of Cousins, the Vikings currently have four players on the list that likely won’t see the field on Sunday. 

Vikings COVID list

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